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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 59:187-193 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao059187

Susceptibility of the Australian freshwater crayfish Cherax destructor albidus to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV)

Brett F. Edgerton*

Centre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia

ABSTRACT: Cherax destructor occurs naturally and/or is farmed in all Australian mainland states and territories and is of major cultural, economical and conservation significance. The aim of this study was to determine susceptibility of the commercially important subspecies C. destructor albidus to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV), a hazard to crustaceans and currently considered to be exotic to Australia. In challenge tests by intramuscular injection, C. destructor albidus displayed a similar level of susceptibility to white spot disease (WSD) as Penaeus monodon (i.e. 100% mortality in 3 d). In one oral challenge test where C. destructor albidus was subjected to significant temperature stress, over 50% died of severe WSD within 14 d post challenge. All dead and moribund crayfish displayed histopathological lesions typical for WSD and gave positive results for WSSV in DNA dot blot hybridization tests. Survivors to 30 d (n = 3) showed no lesions and gave negative dot blot test results. In a second oral challenge test without temperature stress, mortality was delayed but reached 75% by 30 d. However, no typical WSD lesions were observed in the dead, dying or surviving crayfish and dot blot test results were negative. The results suggested that C. destructor albidus would be less susceptible than P. monodon to WSSV exposure via natural routes of infection in farms and in the wild. This information may be useful for disease import risk analysis for WSSV.

KEY WORDS: Freshwater crayfish · Cherax destructor albidus · White spot syndrome virus · Susceptibility · Import risk analysis

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